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125 Years of Science for America - 1879 to 2004
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U.S. Geological Survey
Scientific Investigations Map 2853

Map Showing Coastal Cliff Retreat Rates Along the Big Sur Coast, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California

By Cheryl J. Hapke and Krystal R. Green


map of the coast showing geology and slide areas
Map showing locations of the nine study sections of coast near Big Sur, California, and the average cliff retreat rates associated with each study section

The average coastal cliff retreat rate along the Big Sur coast is 18 ± 6 cm/yr as measured over a 52-year time period. The erosion reference features measured as the cliff edge include the well-defined cliff edges common to marine terraces, slight breaks in the slope defining the upper edge of the active lower slope, and the road grade. Cliff erosion and retreat are focused in isolated erosion hotspots that account for most of the calculated average retreat.

Download Scientific Investigations Map 2853 (.pdf) as a 48x34-inch PDF file (SIM2853.pdf; 3.5 MB)

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Download Scientific Investigations Map 2853 (.eps) as Encapsulated PostScript file (SIM2853.eps; 258 MB)

For questions about the content of this report, contact Cheryl Hapke

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created" September 10, 2004
Last modified: October 4, 2004 (mfd)